Sustainable Travel

Tips for a more Responsible Holiday

The world’s most treasured places are precious. We have a responsibility to help make sure they stay that way. Here are some tips on how you can ensure you have a positive impact on the people you meet and places you visit while also having a more enjoyable, authentic experience on your holiday. These tips have been compiled with the help of the sustainable tourism experts, the Travel Foundation.

Buy Local

Buying local means the money you spend on holiday stays in the local economy.

Ask your Travel Counsellor to suggest excursions using local companies and guides. When you arrive, try to buy locally-made souvenirs and go to local bars, cafes and restaurants to eat local specialities (usually prepared with locally-grown fresh produce!). Your Travel Counsellor can advise you on what local treats to look out for at your chosen destination.

Buy Green 

You can also use your consumer choices to show you care about the environment.

Choose public transport where possible, and bring eco-friendly suntan cream, mosquito repellent and other toiletries with you – especially if you are going swimming or off the beaten track. Order more sustainable fish dishes (check the MSC’s Good Fish Guide online) and avoid any souvenirs made from shells, coral or endangered species.

Keep your footprint small

We all do our bit at home to manage the amount of rubbish we produce, and our water and energy use. In other countries this is usually even more important. For instance, there may be very little access to freshwater, or no local recycling services.

Remember the basics: take short showers rather than baths, reuse towels and bed linen, turn down/off heating and air-conditioning when not required, turn off all lights and appliances when you leave your room.

Respect local culture, traditions and wildlife

Do a little background reading before you go away or ask your Travel Counsellor for advice on how to dress and act appropriately for the place that you are visiting. Learning a few words of the local language (hello and thank you as a minimum) is always appreciated. It’s usually polite to ask permission before taking photographs of people too.

Be wary of excursions that involve animals in captivity or interaction with wild animals (such as elephant rides or swimming with dolphins). Ask your Travel Counsellor for advice, or opt for wildlife tours with qualified guides where you can see animals in their natural habitats.

Giving Back 

Many travellers would like to know if there’s something they can give out, instead of money, as a donation – for instance giving children pens for schools. If you would like to give back, consider donating to a local charity that is involved in social or conservation projects, or support the Travel Foundation, a charity with projects in many popular holiday destinations around the world.

Tailored Advice 

These tips will stand you in good stead wherever you travel. However, the best advice you can get will be specific to you – based on where you go and what you do.

For instance, if you are travelling somewhere where water is particularly scarce (perhaps causing issues with local availability) your Travel Counsellor can give you ideas beyond the basics of opting to shower instead of bath. Perhaps choosing your accommodation will be particularly important, as visitors to some hotels consume many times more water than they would otherwise.

Look for the Green Leaf

At Travel Counsellors, we’re passionate about helping you travel more responsibly. We’ve created the Green Leaf icon to identify hotels and accommodations that have achieved sustainable tourism standards that are recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. When you're enquiring about your next holiday, feel free to ask if your hotel has the Green Leaf.

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